Episode Five: The American Way Jefferson, Coolidge, Hoover, Reagan. It is often observed that American national identity is less a condition than an idea. What we have come t refer to as "the vision thing" is an expectation that our presidents will bring to the office a particularly strong sense of national mission. The four chronicled here may have understood the special character of America in different ways, but in all cases a belief that there was a distinctly American way of doing things guided their decisions. Episode Six: The World Stage Monroe, McKinley, Wilson, Bush. The president has no greater responsibility than representing the nation on the world stage. These four men engaged in this task at critical times in our national history and their achievements on the world stage stand as their most durable legacy.